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Community Energy: A Path Away from Rising Energy Prices

In January of this year, the energy price cap experienced a 5% increase due to the escalating wholesale gas costs, a decision announced by Ofgem two months prior. The purpose of a price cap is to limit the amount that energy suppliers can charge per unit of gas and electricity consumed. However, raising the price cap during periods of heightened heating usage undoubtedly adds to the economic burden of households. 



Let's not underestimate the significance of this 5% increase. When compared to the price cap rate of the last quarter, it has surged by £94 annually for an average household paying by direct debit. The table below shows a comparison of the price cap between the two quarters, extracted from Ofgem. 



Direct Debit 

Prepayment 

Standard credit 

Economy 7 

(electricity only Direct Debit)

Oct – Dec 2023 cap

£1834 

£1861 

£1959 

£1219

Jan – March 

2024 cap

£1928 

£1960 

£2058 

£1272

The escalation in wholesale gas costs, caused by the Middle Eastern Conflict, illustrates how global events impact the daily lives of citizens. Since the UK heavily relies on imported energy, households find themselves compelled to spend more on energy bills, especially those with lower incomes. Consequently, low-income households bear the brunt of these increases, allocating a larger proportion of their income to energy compared to wealthier households. While the Energy Price Cap (EPC) aims to limit the impact, it remains insufficient. 


In the face of global market fluctuations, it’s crucial to explore sustainable alternatives that reduce the cost of living and enhance community resilience. A major solution is community energy.


Community energy refers to the initiatives where local communities come together to generate, own, and use renewable energy sources. These projects aim to promote sustainability, reduce carbon emissions, and empower communities to take control of their energy production. Community energy projects include projects such as the installation of solar panels. 


By installing solar panels on community buildings, sites don’t have to rely so much on energy companies susceptible to global issues. This not only reduces energy costs but also empowers communities to navigate economic uncertainties. Over time, it has the potential to boost community-level renewable energy production and make better use of roofs and land. It can also increase energy awareness with the aim of achieving net-zero targets in the fight against the climate catastrophe, which is in line with our purpose. 


In addition to the benefits already mentioned, community energy can strengthen local communities in a deeper sense, giving the locals more control over their future. In terms of economic growth, solar projects often need workers for tasks like construction and maintenance, which creates job opportunities. People are more likely to spend on projects close to home when they are involved. This not only helps the local economy, but it also lets people in the area gain from the projects' profits through investment. Likewise, working together on projects builds community and a sense of a common goal. Residents working together to reach a shared goal can make friends stronger and bring the community closer together. These initiatives not only contribute to a cleaner and greener environment but also promote local economic development and social cohesion.


How can you get involved? We’d love to hear about your interests. You can participate in various ways: 


  1. Becoming a member: joining as a member to give you a say in how community energy projects are shaped by your participation in decision-making processes. 

  2. Volunteer: Everyone is welcome here, regardless of their interest in marketing, engineering, or any other field. It allows you to put your hobbies into action, make a positive impact on your community, and meet people who share your values. 

  3. Invest in our projects If you're interested in supporting Croydon Community Energy financially, consider participating in a community share offer. By making an investment, you contribute to the financial viability of solar projects. 


Your involvement matters, and we welcome you to be a part of our community!





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